June 2022 Newsletter – Coaching: Structure of Coaching Sessions

It seems that everywhere you look, you can find another coaching model or steps to follow when entering a coaching relationship.  Which one is best? That is difficult to determine because each coaching relationship is different.  Differences also apply based on the source of coaching and why it is being conducted.  For example, coaching mandated by a governing body may look different from coaching that occurs when new employees join the team.

In any case, it is important to have a structure that is followed for each coaching session as well as for the overall coaching experience.

For the overall experience, coaching may follow a path that looks something like this:

  • Greeting – time provided for coaches and coachees to get to know one another or catch up.
  • Observation – time for the coach to watch the coachee in action.
  • Reflection – time for coaches and coachees to identify target areas, obstacles, and solutions.
  • Goal-setting – time to prioritize the skills and practices that will be introduced.
  • Action-planning – time to collaborate on a plan of action to achieve goals.
  • Demonstration – time for coaches to show how new skills can be used.
  • Practice – time for the coachee to use new skills.
  • Feedback – time for the coach to provide guidance and resources, and promote continued reflection.
  • Adjustment – time to reevaluate goals and strategies and make changes as necessary.
  • Closing – time to celebrate efforts and determine next steps, if required.

These steps will likely not remain in this neat order as the coaching process progresses. Coaches need to understand how to build these overall steps into individual sessions in an effective way.

A typical session may look like this:

  • Greeting
  • Demonstration
  • Practice
  • Feedback
  • Closing

A session may look like this

  • Greeting with updates
  • Reflection
  • Demonstration
  • Closing

A coaching session may also look like this:

  • Greeting with a progress report
  • Adjustment
  • Action planning
  • Closing

Coaches must be prepared for any number of situations to arise during coaching sessions.  They should have the skills to be able to pivot to meet the needs of the coachee and keep the coaching relationship intact.  Blindly following a set of steps may disregard the needs of the coachee while having no plan at all will result in a disorganized experience that is frustrating for everyone involved.

A balance of accountability and flexibility is required.


For the main article Coaching, CLICK HERE

For the article What is Coaching?, CLICK HERE

For the article Characteristics for Coaches and Coachees, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Coaching for Success, CLICK HERE